Sunday Herald Sun - - News - CHIEF RAC­ING WRITER

THE reprise is com­plete.

Af­ter an in­ci­dent-marred Sydney cam­paign, Winx’s re­turn to in­vin­ci­bil­ity was sealed with a spine-tin­gling Group 1 Turn­bull Stakes (2000m) win at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day, leav­ing trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bow­man search­ing for su­perla­tives.

Trem­bling with emo­tion af­ter the won­der-mare’s 21st suc­ces­sive vic­tory, Waller said Winx’s health and rep­u­ta­tion re­mained over­rid­ing fac­tors as she bids for a record-equalling third suc­ces­sive Cox Plate at Moonee Val­ley on Oc­to­ber 28.

“We don’t want her to dis­ap­point,” Waller said af­ter Winx posted her 25th tri­umph from 31 starts, un­der­pin­ning her stand­ing as the world’s best turf gal­loper.

“There’s al­ways so much sup­port. There’s al­ways 1 per cent of doubters — but we proved them wrong to­day.

“She needs to be at her best to go to every race.

“She’s got a big rep­u­ta­tion and she won’t re­tire with mul­ti­ple un­placed runs next to her name.

“One race at a time and while she keeps win­ning, she keeps the dream alive.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re keen to get her over­seas to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia, or this part of the world, so we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Boost­ing her prize­money to $13.7 mil­lion, an un­ex­tended Winx thumped her six ri­vals, pre­vail­ing by 6.5 lengths over Ven­tura Storm and way­ward Hu­mi­dor.

“(It’s) pretty spe­cial,” Bow­man said. “No sur­prise, be­lieve it or not.

“She was to­day.

“She was very un­en­thu­si­as­tic last start, for some rea­son or other. Maybe she just had a back to her­self bit of a day where she just didn’t want to do it, but she still did it in style.”

Waller said Winx would how have an easy time ahead of her date with Cox Plate des­tiny on Oc­to­ber 28, re­veal­ing he still be­lieves her best is yet to come.

“Yeah, she’s a bril­liant horse, and what­ever you ask her to do, she does,” he said.

“It’s as sim­ple as that, she makes us all look good.

“There’s no train­ing man­ual for a horse like Winx. She makes me feel pretty spe­cial.

“What a great horse. She’s very spe­cial.

“It’s great that the public can em­brace her. All of her wins have been so spe­cial.

“Wher­ever she goes, whether it’s the Sun­shine Coast, whether it’s Rose­hill, Doomben, Rand­wick, Moonee Val­ley, Flem­ing­ton, Caulfield — she just does a great job.

“When she gets wound up and lets go, it’s pretty siz­zling.”

Book­mak­ers clearly were as taken with the chill­ing author­ity of Winx’s resounding vic­tory as the 20,822 spec­ta­tors at Flem­ing­ton.

TAB trimmed Winx from $1.40 to $1.25 for the Cox Plate, trig­ger­ing con­jec­ture she could chal­lenge Phar Lap’s 1931 record ($1.07) as the short­est-price favourite to start in the race.

Hit­ting a peak speed of 65.6km/h — 1.3km/h quicker than next-fastest Hu­mi­dor — Winx ran her fi­nal 1000m in 57.51sec and her clos­ing 400m in 22.91sec.

Re­gan Bayliss, who part­nered run­ner-up Ven­tura Storm, was gob­s­macked by Winx’s su­pe­ri­or­ity.

“He (Ven­tura Storm) was ter­rific. She’s just the best horse in the world,” he said.

“I’ve never seen a horse put so many lengths on me in a short amount of space with­out any pres­sure. But to my bloke’s credit he’s tick­ing over beau­ti­fully to­wards the Cups.”

Ven­tura Storm’s trainer David Hayes said: “I was too busy watch­ing mine. But she was ob­vi­ously breath­tak­ing. She beat them like she should have.”

Winx co-owner Deb­bie Kepi­tis strug­gled with her emo­tions.

“That is bril­liant,” said Kepi­tis, again wear­ing her lucky black with blue and pur­ple suit with pur­ple-streaked hair.

“There’s just no words. Happy 21st. What a freak. An amaz­ing horse.”

Val­i­dat­ing the­o­ries she is even bet­ter in Mel­bourne than in Sydney, Winx ex­tended her unbeaten run in Vic­to­ria to four.

With two Cox Plates, a Caulfield Stakes and now a Turn­bull Stakes to her credit, Winx has again been more re­laxed at Flem­ing­ton than at Rose­hill.

Bow­man said the open spa­ces of Head­quar­ters had helped set­tle the mare.

“She can just do her own thing on the qui­eter days,” he said. “That’s my the­ory.”

Ad­mit­ting his sole con­cern was when the ear­muffs were re­moved and she en­tered the bar­ri­ers, Bow­man said Winx was per­fectly be­haved.

“She was just beau­ti­ful, she was very set­tled,” he said.

Winx wraps up 21 in a row with her vic­tory in the Turn­bul­lTurn­bull StakesS­takes at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day, with Hugh Bow­man aboard. Pic­tures: ALEX COPPEL, GETTY IM­AGES

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